HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE FRONTIER, Springfield, February 3, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I am compelled to say that I believe the interests of the service demand my removal from this command. While it would be mortifying to me to be transferred to an inferior one, I will cheerfully submit to it rather than remain here longer, because I believe it will be much better for the country.
I do not desire to impugn the motives of General Curtis. He may be perfectly honest and sincere in all his official acts; whether so or not is immaterial. The fact in undeniable that his whole course, which I have been in command of his army,has been calculated to prevent my accomplishing any good result. He has discouraged every advance I have made and repeatedly ordered me to fall back. He detained me in Saint Louis nearly a week after I was ready to return to my command, for no other apparent reason than to give Blunt and Herron time to make their raid to Van Buren.
As soon as I had arrived and assumed command, he ordered me to fall back. At length I got this order modified, so as to permit me to move east and south; but the mountains having become impassable, I was compelled to come round by Crane Creek. Arrived at that place, he refuses to let me go farther. I have been lying here five days, while the roads and weather are fine,and I cannot get permission to move in any direction.
The entire force of the enemy in Arkansas is at Little Rock, or below that point. No force can be subsisted in Northwestern Arkansas by the enemy, and it is not possible for my command to do any good by remaining here. We must move to the eastern part of the State sooner or later, of course. Why not do it now, is more than I can imagine. It my be that supplies cannot be obtained by the river for some time to come; but this is no reason for our delay. We can move 100 miles nearer Little Rock, and yet draw supplies from Rolla better than now. Besides, we would be in position to unite with Davidson and Warren, should the enemy's force be too strong for this command; not that I believe it is. I have no doubt I can easily whip their entire force combined.
General Curtis has at length decided that when I move I am to go via Forsyth and close the White River Valley. He has directed me to construct flat-boats for crossing the river at Forsyth (which I am doing), and a field-work or block-house, to protect the crossing. He also directs me not to move my main force over until ample means shall be provided for retreating, or bringing up re-enforcements. From what point? Davidson's and Warren's are the only forces available, and they from 100 to 150 miles eat of Forsyth.
I have already lost six days since my eastward movement was stopped by General Curtis' order. The weather is fine,and the roads is splendid condition. With all possible exertion, it will take from seven to ten days more to get my army across the river at Forsyth, even if not interfered with any more. Long before that time my command would have been at Batesville, had I been permitted to proceed.
I can see in all this no other object but to delay my movement and prevent my doing anything until some ulterior object can be accomplished; probably to give some other officer the command. What the reason for this may be I will not assume to say. If General Curtis lacks confidence in me, I not to command under him. Better